Two week notice

I have spoken with so much press, but it doesn’t seem to be working. In fact, I feel that I have become just another war victim. Just another story on your radiowaves. Just another blog entry online. The media lives off of stories like mine. I help get their ratings up. I help people tune in to their channel. I help them sell ad spots to make money. I also manage to get my voice heard. I also manage to touch a few people. I am grateful for that. But I do not want to be just another war victim, that perhaps next week you will forget all about me. I don’t want to live a life of war. I did not ask for this. 

How the War Will End

There does not appear to be any end in sight to this latest Israeli attack. The Lebanese have reluctantly accepted that the international community - that increasingly cynical euphemism for the Great Powers - have abandoned them, though France, China and Russia at least have made reassuring gestures. George Bush and Condoleezza Rice have backed Israel’s right to ‘self-defence’ and blamed Hizbullah’s very existence for the current violence. Meanwhile, Tony Blair - in an ironic reversal of the Blair Doctrine, which calls for intervention for humanitarian reasons - has called for more UN peacekeepers to be deployed in southern Lebanon ‘to protect Israel’. 

1,500 souls in Bint Jbeil, Nasrallah, and the "New Middle East"

My siege notes are beginning to disperse. I write disjointed paragraphs but I cannot discipline myself to write everyday. Despair overwhelms me, along with a profoundly debilitating sense of uselessness and helplessness. Writing does not always help; communicating is not always easy, finding the words, deciding which stories should be included, and which should not. The experience of this siege is so emotionally and psychically draining, the situation is so politically tenuous. I miss the world. I miss life. I miss myself. People around me also go through these ups and downs, but I find them generally to be more resilient, more steadfast, more courageous than I. 

Deir Amess To Beirut: 22 kids spend their night on the street

Seven-year-old Liyan opens her eyes in the middle of the night and calls for her mum who is sitting with the adults in the family on the sidewalk. She says, “Send my greetings to my brothers and sisters if any harm happens to me,” then she closes her eyes and falls asleep. Twenty-two children and six of their parents fled from Deir Amess in Tyre the day before yesterday under Israel’s heavy shelling and bombs and slept on the streets of Hazmieh (a northern suburb of Beirut) after roaming the streets for one whole day. 

Needing a miracle to hold my beliefs accountable

She was almost my age, my mother, back in the summer of 1982, that summer which holds my best-conserved memories. I look at myself in the mirror and I almost see her face staring back at me. The fine wrinkles on the forehead, a few grey hairs, and the new habit I am acquiring of pulling my hair up. How does one describe the changes in one’s features? Like looking at old pictures and knowing you don’t look as young anymore, though you also know you haven’t changed. Maybe more than anything, it is the eyes that betray us; - tired eyes through Kohol, our traditional black eyeliner, announcing to you and to the world that you are at war. 

Lebanon burns while the US feeds the flames

The tactics used by many Arab militants should be resoundingly condemned, both for targeting innocents and for bringing disaster on their own peoples. Even so, underneath America’s scorn for Hezbollah and Hamas lies an incredible racism that pretends to believe that no Arab could possibly have any legitimate grievance with Israel, even as Israel smashes their nations into oblivion. To deliver a solution to this crisis from out that racism is to birth a monster. For a short time this week I allowed myself to feel some hope. But America’s plan for “peace” amounts to throwing gasoline on an already raging fire and standing back while we all burn. 

Enough empty talk

Rest assured: as long as there is injustice there will never be peace, and it is only a matter of time before the whole world is engulfed in a state of total chaos, we can see it anyway and only if the real justice prevails will there be real world peace. Today is not the time to throw accusations in all directions, to just sit back, talk and analyze. Today is time to open the mind, the eyes, the ears, and make the world understand that what the strong powers are doing today will one day turn against them. They are only increasing the desperation, the hate, the cruelty, the injustice, and there will only be desperate retaliations. 

One week of war: Every decision is a gamble

I turned on the radio in the kitchen to listen to ‘Sawt al Shaab,’ the communist station that provides updates on the situation, interspersed with nationalist music. Fairuz came in over the static, singing about what a wonderful place Lebanon is. All of a sudden her voice cracks with static and morphs into the robotic voice of a man speaking Hebrew-accented Arabic. It is the same recording that my aunt heard on the phone at 4 am. I jiggle the antenna, trying to get away from his creepy pronouncements but there is no escape. I turn off the radio and leave the kitchen. 

Pity the living and the days to come

Everything in Beirut was so calm I even went home for lunch. There were ongoing airstrikes on the south but no reports of causalities yet. Kinda wanted to come with me to the office when she saw that I was going back there. The minute we reached the street, we heard the sounds of four huge consecutive explosions. I don’t remember what I did - maybe I jumped - but when I looked at Kinda she was pale. It took her two seconds to get back down to earth and say the magic words “boom boom ha ha”. And she kept repeating that for five minutes, automatically. She was not smiling. She was asking, “Boom boom ha ha ?”. 

Lebanon's Phoenix Rising

I am not writing this article to condemn the atrocious Israeli war on Lebanon that started on that abyssal day of July 12, 2006, nor to debate who is mainly responsible for it. I am writing to give hope - the hope that every Lebanese citizen needs right now. Hope for every family who has lost a child, a mother or a father. Hope for every family whose house was destroyed. Hope for every Lebanese student who thinks he has no future in his country anymore. Hope for every investor who withdrew his business from this country. In Majida el Roumi’s song to Beirut, she sings, “Beirut, lady of the world, get up from under the ruins like a pine flower in April.”